It was a beautiful day in so many ways. One of those 80 degree weather days in January in San Diego. Perfectly warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky and I was going to spend it with a great friend of mine! What could be better? Well, I was about to find out.
My girlfriend Carolyn called to see if I’d like to join her on her Meals on Wheels route for Saturday. Oh yes! I’d been wanting to do this and now an opening had popped up. We met up at her house and then headed out to the American Legion Hall to pick up the hot and cold meals and our delivery route. Carolyn is an expert since she has been doing this with her daughter Nicole, through Sprites, since Nicole was in the 7th grade (6 years). Sprites is a mother daughter volunteer group who work with philanthropies in San Diego County. “SPRITES” is an acronym that describes the group: Spiritual, Philanthropic, Recreational, Inspirational, Training, Educational, and Social. If you live in the east country of San Diego and are looking for a great organization for you and your daughter, you should check out Sprites! What a great group!
Today Carolyn and I were on our own without the able driving and map reading abilities of the girls. Carolyn drove and I was the official co-pilot assigned to reading the directions. The directions were pretty specific as we made our way to the first home. So what the heck was our problem? Could it be our need to catch up on the latest scoop while navigating our route? It had to be….it certainly couldn’t have been because we had somehow lost the edge of multitasking from our youth. Not these 2 “Type A” personalities! Whatever it was, we were hysterical as we were backing up, turning around, driving down alleys, u-turns and then back on to the original route.
Then came our next “challenge”, matching the food up with the address and person. Not to mention the codes I was not accustomed to like ETC = easy to chew. Some people needed these, some did not, some got Saturday lunch and dinner, some just lunch, others got Saturday and Sunday meals. There were meals with rolls and meals without rolls, and milk, juice or water. It was all very well planned out and once we had the orders sorted and stacked we were off!
A lot of the people live in apartments and we had to find our way through the complexes to each one, again with a few navigational missteps and more laughing! We met two lovely senior ladies along our way and had friendly chats with each of them. One lady proudly announced to us that she was 98 years old! I don’t know who enjoyed it more, them or us! We managed to get to the last person on our list right at noon in time for his lunch. The Meals on Wheels adventure was quite a success and I look forward to the next time I get to take meals to these interesting seniors. I understand that frequently the volunteers may be the only person the senior sees all day.
Now it was time for our lunch. Carolyn asked if I had ever had an Acai Bowl. Well, no I hadn’t. I’d had acai juice but not in a bowl. Those of you who follow me know that I LOVE food in a bowl! We went to La Mesa Bistro & Bakery, a cute family owned restaurant with not your run of the mill kind of food. Gonna try the Lobster Eggs Benedict next time! We ordered a small Acai Bowl to share and our lunches. Well it came first and I thought, ah dessert before lunch…..a new twist! Carolyn said, “I want you to taste this and tell me how to make it at home!” I had to laugh, an ulterior motive to treating me to the Acai Bowl! My first taste and I said, “This reminds me of sorbet.” My second bite and I said, “I love it! Yeah, I’ll figure it out for you!” 🙂
There’s a reason why Acai (pronounced ah-sah-EE) ) is one of the hottest super foods around. The acai fruit comes from the acai palm tree which grows in the Amazon rain forests of Brazil. The dark purple acai berries are filled with healthy antioxidants, amino acids, fiber and essential fatty acids. Because they are so high in antioxidants the health benefits are terrific! The berries have the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream, give your skin a healthier glow, have powerful detoxification capacities in the human body and acai may play a role in our cellular protection system helping to keep cells strong against the invasion of free radicals. Research studies also show that acai may prevent mental imbalance in menopausal women. (Guess we should have had the acai bowl before we started driving!)
Acai berries are one of the planets highest sources of antioxidants, with one berry holding ten times the amount of antioxidants as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries. So where do you find these amazing berries? Local health food stores, some Costco stores, Windmill Farms in San Diego (Wonder Fruit) and Whole Foods. If you don’t have one of these close to you, then internet shopping is the way to go. Just make sure you are getting 100% Pure Acai Berries with no sugar added. Sambazon Acai Puree in 14 ounce packs/15 per case. Now that will last you quite awhile!
Luscious Berry Acai Bowl
Fresh and healthy ingredients that make you want to eat your breakfast ‘cuz it feels like dessert!
Choose the bowl that you are going to serve the acai bowl in and place it in the freezer. This is optional, but it will keep the smoothie colder longer. This is a killer treat on a hot day!
Prepare your toppings: Wash the berries and slice the banana. Measure out the granola and coconut (toast if you choose to). Set aside.
Place all the smoothie ingredients, except the almond milk, in a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Ninja and blend until smooth and combined. A blender is a fast and easy way to whip up an Acai Bowl on the fly. If you have an ice cream maker, blend all the ingredients first, then pour them into an ice cream maker and churn up some acai sorbet! Now’s the time for a plan ahead strategy so make a double or triple batch and store it in your freezer. It will have a creamier, more sorbet like quality to it with the ice cream maker.
Remove your bowl from the freezer and pour the smoothie into the bowl. Smooth the top so that it is even with the rim of the bowl. You can always pop the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up a bit too.
This will be a thick smoothie, almost like sorbet and your spoon should stand up in it! Thin with a little almond milk if it is too thick. I didn’t need to thin mine. I also prefer the natural taste of the berry so I didn’t add any sugar but that’s up to you. Agave syrup would be a good choice if you decide to sweeten it up. It’s your bowl, make it taste the way you like it!
Add the toppings across the top of the acai smoothie and dig in! Be creative with your toppings ~Any seasonal fruit, bee pollen, chia seeds, nuts, you name it! If you like it, it’s a sure winner for a topping choice!
- 3.5-ounce package frozen pure acai, unsweetened (Wonder Fruit is what I use)
- 1/2 cups frozen berries (Trader Joe’s Mixed Berries)
- 1 large banana, frozen
- 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
- almond milk, to thin mixture if needed
- 1/2 cup granola
- 1 baby banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted or plain
- Choose the bowl that you are going to serve the acai bowl in, and place it in the freezer (optional, but this will keep the smoothie colder longer).
- Prepare your toppings: wash the berries and slice the banana. Measure out the granola and coconut (toast if you choose to). Set aside.
- Place all the smoothie ingredients, except the almond milk, in a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Ninja and blend until smooth and combined. This will be a thick smoothie, almost like sorbet and your spoon should stand up in it! Thin with a little almond milk if it is too thick.
- Remove your bowl from the freezer and pour the smoothie into the bowl. Smooth the top so that it is even with the rim of the bowl. Add the toppings across the top of the acai smoothie and dig in!
- If you have an ice cream maker, toss the ingredients in and churn up some acai sorbet! Now's the time for a plan ahead strategy so make a double or triple batch and store it in your freezer. It will have a creamier, more sorbet quality to it with the ice cream maker.